Gorilla Tourism in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda: An Actor-Network Perspective

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Society & Natural Resources An International Journal


his article performs actor-network theory (ANT) to examine the development of gorilla tourism at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. We depict a number of translations in which gorillas were designated and enrolled as coexisting with local livelihood practices, as ‘‘trophies’’ in the hunting network, ‘‘man’s closest neighbor’’ in the scientific network, ‘‘endangered species’’ in the conservation network, and finally, through habituation processes, became part of the tourism network. These five versions of the ‘‘gorilla’’ network show how gorillas are shaped in and by the relations in which they reside. By examining Bwindi in terms of ANT’s notions of ordering, materiality, and multiplicity, we not only show how gorilla tourism has gained permanence and popularity, but also draw attention to new ways of thinking about actors and agency in tourism, conservation, and development



actor-network theory, Bwindi, gorilla tourism, Uganda